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Vow by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed in The Rumpus!

 

VOW BY KRISTINA MARIE DARLING

REVIEWED BY 

VowIn The Bell Jar, Plath’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, eschews expectations of marriage for writing, growing more and more disconnected from the other young women interns with her at the New York City fashion magazine. So Kristina Marie Darling’s poetry and prose unveils the stereotypes and double-standards embedded in our culture that make marriage imprisoning for many women. Given her history of experimentation with form, it is not surprising that her two most recent books, Vow and Music for another life., act in concert with each other and with the other literary works resisting these prescribed roles in works that incorporate both prose and poetry.

Vow is a book length poem that re-constructs (though incompletely) the remnants of a story, a treatise of vows, and the end of a marriage. Though easiest classified as poetry, it is the kind of writing that resists form as much as the voice in the book resists the constraints of marriage. In the first and main section of the book, “Vow,” we find what seems to be a story with narrative gestures seen in the prose blocks of text that begin with narrative syntax such as “I had always imagined the day” and “But before long, we’ll enter the house” However, as the first line asks “What does a white dress not resemble?” we may ask how does this not resemble story or poem. After all, the majority of this poem/story is filled with a sort of poetic negative space where footnotes and “marginalia” annotate empty pages. With this text, Darling tells and retells a story, recycling images of shattered glass, white dresses, a house without an exit, a house that can only be escaped through burning. Are these the ashes of that house, that marriage?

As it deconstructs the institution of marriage, so Vow also documents the construct, in the aftermath, of the poem itself. There are three appendices to the book and, in between them, “Endnotes to a History of Brides.” These sections act as commentary, supplement, and evidence for the first section. “Marginalia” contains more footnotes (this time numbered) to more blank pages. However, along with “Endnotes to a History of Brides,” rather than continuing the story, the notes seem to give background commentary, much as one might find in the commentary version of a movie, such as “This silver dagger was most often used for opening letters” or a direction for the reenactment of the story not told in the first part: “The film follows its heroine as she photographs the scorched altar….” This commentary adds context and a more distanced perspective to the story that “Vow” attempts to tell. Both are explanations for something that cannot be explained: why a marriage ends.

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE

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Tim J. Myers is in the news!

 

 

Tim Myers the author of Dear Beast Loveliness has had some wonderful media responses to all of his writings. Below are interviews, reviews, and a short story for you to look over. Hurray and do stop by his book page to have a look at his poetry. Hurray!   

 

 

Tim Myers on East o’ the sun and West o’ the Moon

LA Review of Books:

https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/visions-beast/

 

 

Tim Myers interviewed with DASHKA SLATER on the writing life:

http://www.dashkaslater.com/index.php/blog/entry/the-many-paths-to-publication-part-5-an-interview-with-tim-myers

 

 

And here's a short story b y Tim in EAP: The Magazine:

The Fisherman and the Draug

http://exterminatingangel.com/eap-the-magazine/the-fisherman-and-the-draug/

 

Here's an interview on Tim’s children's books:

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Prior by James Berger reviewed in the New Haven Review

 

Priorities



James Berger’s first book, Prior(BlazeVOX, 2013), is not so much a collection as it is a condensed career. Drawing on decades of poems, Berger compresses his past into a book. We don’t read for a dominant theme but rather to see the different threads revealed. And yet this is also not a “selected,” where the volumes drawn from would be clearly marked. Berger has compiled his poems, we might say, and chosen an arrangement for them. And that’s what we read.

That said, we can isolate different versions of Berger the poet, and different interests over time. The book is divided into four sections, linked by recurring short poems entitled, severally, “Prior to Earth,” “Prior to Air,” “Prior to Water,” but the sections seem to blend the kinds of manner to which Berger is prone. There is the abstract poet, pursuing a more disembodied style, where a sense of language is the key pursuit; there is the family man poet, who reacts to a death, to the birth and growth of his children, who reflects on his sisters, and explores the imaginative dimensions of marriage; there is the discontented commentator on culture and, to use the Onion’s phrase, “our dumb century,” a poet who finds little enough to praise and chafes at his status quo; then there is the more profound poet, who sees that the purpose of poetry, after all, is its ability to contain life and thought, the actual existence and the virtual existence. Poetry may be cloying if it tries to be wisdom literature, and Berger is too ironic toward language to endorse gestures too large, but moments of careful reflection surface due to the poet’s willingness to attend to the implications in a turn of phrase, a new shade of the mind.

Read the whole review here 

Check out more about Prior here

 

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Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy reviewed in Prick of the Spindle

 Romance with Small-Time Crooks
By Alexis Ivy
Review by Karen Weyant



BlazeVOX [books], 2013
ISBN: 978-1609641054
Paperback, 100 pp., $16

 

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a pool hall girl—one of those teenage girls who hung out at the local dives in town. Pool hall girls were all tight jeans and tank tops and tattoos. They wore red lipstick and teased their hair high (this was the 1980s). Trails of cigarette smoke always lingered behind them. They were, in one word, cool. And as a young girl, I wanted to be cool. 
            
Somehow, I was reminded of those pool hall girls when I read Alexis Ivy’s Romance with Small-Time Crooks. Ivy’s first full-length poetry collection details a young woman’s life from youth to adulthood through booze and drugs, sex and violence, loss, and eventually, hope. Essentially, this book is the coming-of-age story of a heroine who is resilient, if not a bit rough around the edges, but always a fighter and survivor. 

Read the whole review here 

Check out Alexis's book here 

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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!


A free-love opus set in a bygone era. Ben Steinberg, a successful architect, hosts a collective of artists and free-spirits in his Sag Harbor, N.Y., house in 1969. Among the damaged but earnest people that move through his home are Andre, a director; Robert, a Vietnam War veteran; Carolina, a spiritual youth endeavoring to live without restraint; and Maya, the apex of a romantic triangle that consumes her suitors. The plot follows a fairly straightforward design: As the year progresses, each character wrestles with their own particular demons. Robert’s disenchantment with the world is reified in his aversion to visiting his wealthy grandmother, the woman who raised him; for Carolina, it’s an evolving quest to live as freely as possible that, eventually, takes her away from Sag Harbor. But the plot, as it is, feels secondary here. The real tension comes from within. Working with a true ensemble cast, Stevenson explores the radical aspirations of each of his characters while balancing them against the dramatic irony of a world that didn’t turn out quite the way it was supposed to. Perhaps the best stand-in for the contemporary reader is Robert. He may have been disillusioned by his experience overseas (as readers may have been by the course of history), but he yearns for some kind of meaning in his life, something true to aspire toward. The same goes for everybody in the novel; amid pain and loneliness, they look for some kind of purpose in a world that doesn’t seem prepared to accept them. It’s a familiar enough theme for books set in the late 1960s, but Stevenson’s effortless prose brings a freshness to what could otherwise have easily been a trite tale of hippie naïveté. He laces the story with insightful mantras throughout: “It’s not like cooking—there’s no measuring cup. Freedom has to be unconditional or not at all.” The narrative movements here are subtle, often more interested in providing a full picture of the characters’ struggles than in building a propulsive plot. At times, the pace may feel sluggish for some, but readers willing to stick with it will be rewarded with a stunning resolution. An atmospheric, evocative tale of youth endeavoring to live free.

—Kirkus Reviews


Read more about The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson here

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